Assistance for Studying Abroad – Why required?


Learning from History
Human mind searches for a pattern in life of successful people. Invariably the effort is to find out the formula for success. While they do find out the formula most fail to notice a common factor in these successes, the hidden hand of a guide.

Let us take the example from our history. An Acharya in India is considered an important part of governance, the land of the Acharya of yore and replete with the role of a Guru who advised emperors. Guru Samartha Ramadas was RajGuru to Chhatrapati Sivaji, Chanakya or Kautilya to Chandragupta The Great.

Modern Learnings
Take the recent examples from sport. The great Sachin Tendulkar had Ramnath Achrekar as his mentor and some of the senior players whenever he was in doubt. Djokovic became a hugely successful player after Boris Becker took over as his coach. All of them were geniuses and required just that spark of guidance to rise to the occasion.

If such greatly successful legends, heroes require guidance, what about many of us?
Career decisions or higher education process is not an exception when it comes to the need for guidance.

Elements in the process of going abroad
So how much does guidance or career counseling play a role in the application process. The following account can throw light on this interesting question.

The process to go abroad consists of the following elements:
  • 1. Determining the best fit course
  • 2. Identification of Destination
  • 3. Shortlisting Institution
  • 4. Application documentation
  • 5. Eligibility conditions
  • 6. VISA process

The basic rule to all the process is that the applicant chooses as per their passion, interest level and comfort.
Processes 1 to 4 are strictly under your control while 5 and 6 are dependent upon external factors. You control the former and not the latter.

Let us consider some of the process briefly.
Choosing a specialisation – It is natural for an applicant to continue with the same subject which they pursued at the school/college level. While this was a trend even a decade back, currently students choose different paths. For example, mechanical engineering students opting for environment or information technology is not uncommon.

Identification of destination is complicated process with so many options currently. Some of the factors to be considered are post study options, job opportunities. Shortlisting Institutions is a scientific process and is based on academic performances, test scores, profile and preferences. A wrong shortlist means rejection of application.

Once the applicant chooses an institution, he/she must go through the process of finding the eligibility, complete them and then provide the required documentation.

Case 1 – Applicant on his own
In the case of an applicant who is applying on their own it is important they have somebody who will handhold the process.

Case 2 – Student taking advise from a higher education counseling organization or counselor providing the following:
  • 1) Shortlist institution based on your inputs
  •     a. Shortlist universities, destination based on factors like opportunities, stay back options, career growth and budget
  • 2) Support in your documentation
  •    a. Documentation is a disciplined process and the student will need help to do it in the given time frame and correctly
       b. Universities have different processes not aware to the applicant
  • 3) Advisory Services - With their expertise counsellors help you with the right approach to write a statement of purpose (SOP) as part of application processing
  • 4) VISA counseling - Handling the VISA officials while not tough requires inputs.

It is evident in case 2 the student has a better opportunity at controlling the process than case 1.
There is a 1-1 support to the applicant right through the process. For an applicant who is investing towards his future the counselor or consultant plays a major role in the success.

Having chosen a counselor of repute the applicant has to do the following:
  • 1) Build a profile by performing well in eligibility exams, basic qualification exams
  • 2) Documenting well and
  • 3) Applying early.

A point to be noted is that applying early (point 3) gives enough time to the student to build the profile by clearing additional exams or undergoing an internship. Yours truly would suggest that students may approach an organisation who provide higher education counseling for a detailed assessment of their study abroad preparation and plans.